Since 1984, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach has partnered with Racing For Kids to bring the excitement of racing to hospitalized children. Following the Grand Prix of Long Beach, Racing For Kids hosted a virtual visit on Monday, Sept. 27, which included a special appearance by race car driver Zach Veach. The virtual visit was broadcast through a closed-circuit TV station that patients could view directly in their room. During the visit, patients were able to call in and ask the driver questions.
“It was amazing and the kids just kept calling,” says Rita Goshert, Director of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s. “They feel extra special and it helps the parents feel good as well to see their child having such a good time.”
The young patients were eager to ask Zach about his past racing events, how fast he’s driven and the type of cars he’s been able to drive. He also shared what Racing For Kids means to him.
“Being a part of Racing For Kids allows me to brighten the day of hospitalized kids,” says Zach Veach. “My love for racing started at 4-years-old and I can relate to many of the kids that want to talk about racing.”
In addition to meeting the drivers, during the visit child life specialists delivered goodie bags filled with merchandise from Racing For Kids, such as racing hats, coloring books and toys.
Quite often, the hospital can be a scary place for kids to be in. Special events and visits like the one from Racing For Kids, can make their experience less frightening and more comforting.
“It’s kind of like an escape for them,” says Rita. “It’s nice for our patients to have something to look forward to these days.”